Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
In Dante's WakeReading from Medieval to Modern in the Augustinian Tradition$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

John Freccero, Danielle Callegari, and Melissa Swain

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780823264278

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: January 2016

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823264278.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM FORDHAM SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.fordham.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Fordham University Press, 2018. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in FSO for personal use (for details see www.fordham.universitypressscholarship.com/page/privacy-policy).date: 21 November 2018

Allegory and Autobiography

Allegory and Autobiography

(p.96) Allegory and Autobiography
In Dante's Wake

John Freccero

, Danielle Callegari, Melissa Swain
Fordham University Press

This chapter discusses how autobiography is represented schematically in Dante's poem by the synthesis of Platonic allegory with traditional biblical motifs. Dante's descent into Malebolge—and particularly the figure of Geryon, which epitomizes it—is an allegorical motif claiming no existence outside the text. They structure elements of Dante's experience in such a way that an account of his life has at the same time a moral significance for “nostra vita.” The protagonist of the story is at once Dante Alighieri and “whichever man,” meaning not the abstract “everyman” of morality plays, but rather a historical individual, elected by grace. If we were to ask about the “truth” of such an account, in the everyday, biographical sense, the answer would certainly not be found in these allegorical motifs—rope, dragon, abyss—but rather in the existential realities underlying them.

Keywords:   Divine Comedy, Dante, Inferno, allegory, Geryon, Malebolge, biblical motifs

Fordham Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs , and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us .